Thursday, September 20, 2007

Book Summary: Michael Dertouzos – The Unfinished Revolution

Some time back, I went to the office library looking for a good book on HCI (Human Computer Interaction). I found just two books on the subject. (Guess that sort of explains a lot of things). One was a dated guide to desktop GUI design. The other was 'The Unfinished Revolution : How to Make Technology Work for Us--Instead of the Other Way Around' by Michael Dertouzos. Considering the author’s background and the big names on the jacket, I figured it would be worth a read.

Dertouzos starts by identifying the problem with today’s computers, the fact that they don’t often help ordinary people achieve more by doing less. He then presents a 5-point solution – Natural Interaction, Automation, Individualized Information Access, Collaboration and Customization – to realize the dream of human Centered Computing; while dismissing two of most popular themes of computer fiction - AI and Bionics - as being unlikely in the foreseeable future.

The author presents a compelling vision of how these five technologies can realistically change the way we use computers. The last chapter gets philosophical, considers the implications of Human Centered Computing and how it could change society.

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